Yet another bike rider dies on SoCal streets, as a 57-year old cyclist is killed riding in Carson

I could just scream.

For the fifth time in the last seven days, a bike rider has been killed on the mean streets of Southern California,.

According to the Daily Breeze, a 57-year old man was killed in a collision with a passenger van around 5 pm at the intersection of Avalon Blvd and Gardena Blvd in Carson. The victim, who is believed to be a resident of the city, was declared dead at the scene.

The driver remained at the scene following the collision; no other details are available at this time.

This is the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, a horrifying half of which have occurred in L.A. County – which compares with 23 cycling deaths in L.A. County for all of last year.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

………

Meanwhile, despite the lack of any information, KCBS-2 seems to think it’s important to question whether or not the victim in this case was wearing a helmet — without any details on how the collision occurred or whether a helmet would have made any difference.

Or, evidently, if the victim even suffered a head injury.

Despite popular opinion, bike helmets are not magic devices that can ward off serious injuries or death for the wearer.

While they are designed to protect against catastrophic head injuries in slow speed collisions, they offer little protection in high speed crashes, little or no protection against concussions, and no protection for any other part of the body.

I never ride my bike without one.

But it is simply irresponsible for any journalist to bring up the question of whether the victim was wearing one with no information to support it.

………

The Fontana Herald News offers a look at the life of 18-year old Carlos Morales Guzman, the bike rider killed by a train in Fontana last Saturday.

………

The green bike lanes on Spring Street, popular with everyone but Hollywood filmmakers, will see a significant reduction in paint coverage — and possibly safety — thanks to an unpopular compromise passed today in a unanimous vote of the L.A. City Council.

You can read my report here on LA Streetsblog.

………

Finally, a Santa Monica cyclist pleads guilty to a charge of Assault with a Deadly Weapon after running a red light at the Third Street Promenade and seriously injuring a pedestrian.

I’ve never heard of a motorist facing a similar charge after running a red light, though, even if someone is killed as a result. And to the best of my knowledge, a charge of Assault with a Deadly Weapon requires intent to cause harm, which would seem highly unlikely in a traffic collision — and which the police say was not present in this case.

Yes, cyclists who cause harm by breaking the law can and should be prosecuted, just as drivers are. Or should be, anyway.

But at first glance, this would seem to have been a significant overreach by prosecutors. Even if they did get away with it.

And don’t get me started on the promise by the Santa Monica police to focus on bicycling violations this summer, which sounds a lot like selective enforcement. Let alone the opposite of the bike-friendly city that SaMo aspires to be.

I’ll be writing about this for Streetsblog on Friday. If you have any inside knowledge of this case, or you’re a lawyer or police officer who can offer insight into the matter — on or off the record — email me at bikinginla at hotmail dot com.

6 comments

  1. JD says:

    Our prayers go up for the family and friends of the victim.

  2. Stefan says:

    We lost another SOCAL cyclist yesterday. Jackie Dunn was riding on the San Diego Velodrome and went down hard. She was kept on life support until her organs could be harvested. I’m short on details but this is another horrible loss.

  3. Biker395 says:

    I had a similar reaction to the story about the cyclist pleading guilty to ADW. Yes, recklessness can substitute for the intent required for similar crimes, but that appears to be a case of over prosecution.

    I also noted that the NBC news report of the incident used rather colorful language to describe the collision … that the cyclist “flew” through the intersection and “slammed” into the pedestrian.

    Listen, I think cyclists that run stop signs and stop lights are selfish fools. But that doesn’t necessarily make them felons.

  4. Michael M says:

    Any insight into why fatalities are up so much this year? Are there that many more bikers out on the roads or are there other factors?

    • bikinginla says:

      Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to dig into the details to see if I can figure that out; I hope to get a chance in the next week or so.

      However, these deaths seem to run the gamut, from bike racers to solo falls to victims of hit-and-run drivers. If there’s a pattern here, I can’t see it yet.

      So you may be right, it may just be that there bike riders on the roads — but that wouldn’t explain why a full half of all the deaths are in L.A. County.

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